Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - Best. Year. Ever.

New Year's Eve –noun
[noo yeers eev]
1. the night of December 31, often celebrated with merrymaking to usher in the new year at midnight
From volunteering at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, to seeing many great shows and music festivals, as well as inventing a new music festival device and becoming a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol, 2010 has easily been the Best. Year. Ever.

Sure there were a few lows along the way, but the highs have definitely outweighed any lows that I have encountered. I've become a better and stronger person and will be able to tackle any challenges that present themselves in 2011 with confidence and clarity.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve and are happy and content with the outcome of 2010. Just remember, things are never as bad as they seem. Patience and persistence will see you through any challenge.

For myself the New Year will be a year of some pretty big changes and as apprehensive as I may be I'm still excited to see where this new adventure will take me.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Chasing Distractions' Bucket List

buck·et list –noun
[buhk-it list]
1. a series of things you would like to accomplish before you die. Comes from the term "kicked the bucket".
I recently stumbled across a show on MTV that is about four young guys travelling around North America ticking off things on their Bucket List. The show is called the Buried Life and is produced my MTV. I didn't watch the entire episode, but I did take the time to look them up on the internet. Here is what Wikipedia had to say about the show:

The series focuses on four friends (Ben, Jonnie, Duncan, and Dave) as they travel across North America in a purple transit bus they named "Penelope" to complete a list of "100 things to do before you die." For every item they try to complete on their list, they help a stranger achieve one of their dreams and encourage others to go after their own lists. Everywhere they go they ask the question: "What do you want to do before you die?"

I'm not sure I can come up with '100 things to do before I die' right now, but I thought I would start my list anyway. In no particular order here it is:

1. Adopt a puppy
2. Become fluent in at least one other language
3. Build a house
4. Build an igloo
5. Discover Nunavut
6. Discover an underwater shipwreck
7. Do a tour of the Galapagos Islands
8. Do an over night horse back riding adventure
9. Do Chuck Palahniuk's tour of Portland, Oregon, visiting sites from his novel Fugitives and Refugees
10. Experience Manitoba  - check! - (Sept. 2011)
11. Explore the Northwest Territories
12. Go white water kayaking - check! - (June 2011)
13. Get married
14. Go whale watching
15. Grow my own food
16. Hike up to Machu-Picchu
17. Learn to fly a helicopter
18. Learn to play guitar
19. Learn to play the trumpet
20. Learn to scuba dive
21. Learn to sing
22. Learn to surf
23. Live with a local nomadic family in Mongolia for at least one season
24. Live in Thailand for at least 1 year
25. Live in a cabin in the woods
26. Make babies
27. Pay off my debt - check! - (Back In Black! Jan. 2013)
28. Perform a song in front of a live audience live - check! (well if karaoke counts that is)
29. Rent a really fast car and drive across the desert
30. Survive a zombie apocalypse
31. Swim with the dolphins
32. Take a ride in a hot air balloon
33. Take an adventure in the Yukon
34. Travel around Saskatchewan - check! - (Sept. 2011)
35. Travel into space
36. Visit Newfoundland
37. Visit Iceland and swim in the Blue Lagoon
38. Volunteer my services to impoverished areas
39. Walk along the Great Wall of China
40. Win big in the lottery
41. Work on a fishing boat for at least one day
42. Write a novel and have it published
43. Write a song
44. Act in a commercial
45. Be an extra in a movie - check! (Ming - 2012)
46. Drive across the country - check! (Ottawa to PEI 2008 & Ottawa to Victoria, BC 2011)

Well 46 things to do before I die isn't a bad start, and since I plan on living forever I guess I'll have time to add to the list.

What are some of the things that are on your list?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Canadian Ski Patrol

first aid –noun
[furst eyd]
1. emergency aid or treatment given to someone injured, suddenly ill, etc., before regular Medical services arrive or can be reached
My newest distraction to chase is training to become a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol. For approximately 9 weeks I will be learning all the ins and outs of the human body and the techniques to keep it alive long enough for EMS to arrive.

This is really the personal challenge of all personal challenges for me.

I'm very squeamish when it comes to the inner workings of the body. I much prefer to pretend that inside us all is this fire that burns. Eating fuels these flames and as we get older the flame slowly diminishes until it is snuffed out and we die. Learning about how vulnerable we are makes me feel weak. In fact I never lasted through a whole health class in high school and came close to fainting many times. I don't think I will have a problem seeing 'it' or dealing with 'it', it's more just hearing about 'it'. I have an overactive imagination and learning about our insides just freaks me out.

But what's a personal challenge unless you really challenge yourself?

Speaking of personal challenges, today is the last day of Sober September. Another successful year, but the most challenging to date, this September I attended a wedding and a bachelor party. I managed to survive the temptation so as a award for a job well done I will be attending the Oktoberfest celebrations at the Beau's Brewery this weekend.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

A New Quit Smoking Aid

big house –noun
[big hou-ziz]
1. Slang a penitentiary
I've considered myself a casual smoker for years - too many years to mention *cough-cough*. In an attempt to curb this filthy habit I thought I would take some insight from those unfortunate souls that find them self in the Big House. Well at least what I know of it from books and movies.

In the Big House the common currency is cigarettes. The current exchange rate for a cigarette is 50¢; from this day forward I will think in terms of cigarettes. For example:

If I want to order that tasty sandwich from the place around the corner it's going to cost me 13 cigarettes.

My car just went in for repairs; it's likely going to cost me 3000 cigarettes.

When this year's Sober September ends that first frosty pint of Guinness is likely to cost me 14 cigarettes plus another two for tip.

It costs me just over 1000 cigarettes a month for rent… hmm I wonder if my landlord will be up for that exchange.

Hopefully thinking in terms of cigarettes will help me to quit. For every dollar I spend that's two smokes I can't have.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Side Clapper™

side clap·per -noun
[sahyd klap-er]
1. A music festival device that allows the wearer to clap along with the band while holding their beverage
The Side Clapper™

This summer I did a bit of the music festival tour starting with the NxNE music festival in Toronto. During NxNE I began to realize a certain fact, when holding a beverage, especially one that comes in a brown bottle, it is almost impossible to clap.

During the shows I looked around at my fellow festival goers and noticed that many in attendance holding their own form of beverage would do the same thing as I would, they would either hoot and holler or slap their hip to show their appreciation for the band. I thought to myself, 'the band can't hear me slapping my hip… there's got to be a better way!' For the rest of the festival I shopped my idea around a bit and asked those in attendance that I spied slapping their hip if they think they would benefit from some sort of side clapper. I received some mixed reactions, some for, some against, some "Get away from me you drunk!"… I think they might have been still on the fence about the whole idea.

It was during the next festival, the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest where I really decided that this device had to be made, if not for me than for the hips of festival goers all over the world. During our late night Bluesfest brainstorming sessions, (where many good ideas are formed dontcha' know?), my pitch was met with much enthusiasm. It was time turn this dream into a reality.

For the next festival, the Wolfe Island Music Festival, I recruited a few friends and together we designed the first ever prototype of the Side Clapper™. Producing only 20 prototypes for the festival my goal was to spread the word, create some buzz and hopefully convince a band to wear them on stage during the festival. Well Dear Reader I am ecstatic to stay that I exceeded my goal. Not only did I create some buzz, but I also pitched the Side Clapper™ to front man Rolf of The Acorn. Much to my surprise, and those festival goers that were wearing their own Side Clapper™, Rolf even took a few seconds out of his performance to explain the Side Clapper™, using almost the same pitch that I had given him the night before.

But don't just take my word for it, I'll let Rolf explain it himself:

The final music festival of the season was the Ottawa Folk Fest, where I once again produced a few more prototypes and tried creating some buzz. It didn't hurt that The Acorn were also performing at this festival. At one point I overhead the following: "See that guy over there? He's the inventor of the Side Clapper™. I was at Wolfe Island last week when he was handing them out."

So where does the Side Clapper™ go from here? Well I'm going to take the Fall and Winter months to design and produce a permanent version and hopefully you'll see me at the 2011 SxSW where you too can get your very own Side Clapper™.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

5 Books For Your Fall Reading List

book·worm –noun
1. a person devoted to reading or studying

Once again I have been neglecting this poor blog, for that Dear Reader I am sorry.

I've been so busy Chasing Distractions this summer that I haven't been able to find the time to post any updates. Lots to fill you in on, but one of the top things to scratch off my To Do List is an update for the quasi-Book Club. Plus it will help me to clear off the number of books that are beginning to pile up on my desk.

If you remember my last Book Club update, way back in September of 2009, the next book on the list was Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. Well I finally finished it... it only took me about six months. What to say about Tropic of Cancer, other than Miller sure does love to throw the 'C' word around. I'm not sure if this is a work of pure fiction or just the drunken ramblings of a starving American writer living in Paris with the stories of his cohort's exploits thrown in for good measure. But who knows, maybe I missed the point entirely.

After those gruelling six months the book reading was back to one every week or so. The next 4 books for your reading list are as follows:

Bite Me is the next instalment of Christopher Moore's own Vampire trilogy. In typical Moore style Bite Me is a funny easy read. In fact I chewed through this one over a long weekend in May while lounging at the cottage.

I went back to another of my favourite authors and read back-to-back Palahnuik novels. The first was Pygmy. With its broken language writing style it reminded me of an Irvine Welsh novel. Not too much to say about this one, unfortunately once you know the author's style the ending becomes a little predictable. Overall Pygmy was a good read.

Ever wonder what goes on backstage of a porn set? Well Chuck Palahniuk's novel Snuff will answer that very question. Cassie Wright is going for a gangbang record, 600 guys, and each one has their story to tell. Although this novel also summed up with a predicable ending, the path taken to get there was enjoyable.

Last on the list was a novel I really enjoyed, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being by Milan Kundera. Although quite sad at times I really felt connected with a number of the characters. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes a good read.

Next on the list, and currently 130 pages in, is The Master and Margarita written by Mikhail Bulgakov. I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Well that about sums it up for me tonight. Until next time, happy reading.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where'd ya go CD?

MIA -noun
1. A member of the armed services who is reported missing following a combat mission and whose status as to injury, capture, or death is unknown
So I've been away for some time, neglecting this poor blog, for that I do apologize to both you Dear Reader and to you poor blog.

So lets play some catch up shall we?

Around mid April I was given notice that my contract would be ending on May 31st, it's been two whole weeks now that I've been underemployed, and a whole month since I have gotten a pay cheque. For a guy that unfortunately lives hand to mouth, this friends is not a good situation to be in. On the plus side I have managed to get a couple of writing jobs and am still slowly working on my Freelance Writer website.

On May 1st I headed back to Golden BC for a few weeks to visit with the most amazing girl. It was a bittersweet visit however, as I do not think I will ever get a chance to see her again.

After that I came back to Capital City for a week, then headed off to the Muskoka's to hang out at a cottage and clear my mind. I did some visiting back in Hometown and returned once again to Capital City. In my downtime, while looking for some means of gainful employment I put together a little blog network, which I have called My Big List Of Blogs. I'm not sure what I am going to do with it, but hopefully I'll get a little traffic and gain some much needed income with this pet project of mine.

So where does Chasing Distractions go from here?

I should be putting my efforts into finding some work, getting my life back together, but my ever-muddled mind still has the urge to chase distractions. Lately I've been focusing that energy on entering contests, you all know how I love winning stuff. Yesterday I won a ride in the Bluesfest limo, got treated to a Subway lunch and was handed 4 day passes for the festival. Today I put my efforts into winning some NXNE passes, but sadly I didn't win. But never fear Dear Reader, this story does have a happy ending, fellow CBC Radio3 blogger MoniSki graciously offered me one of her own NXNE passes. How awesome is that?

On Thursday morning I plan on taking what little funds I have, jumping into my Granpa mobile and heading down to the Big Smoke for one last weekend of music and excitement. Maybe I'll even run into The Details again.

Oh speaking of The Details, in an old post I mentioned testing out recording audio with my digital handheld recorder, it worked and the quality was much better. So I'll leave you with a video from that show back in March.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Please Support Your Local Food Bank

char·i·ty –noun
1.generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless
My situation has once again become dire. My current full time writing contract has recently been terminated and will wrap up at the end of this month. Devoting myself to paying down my debts, and probably chasing too many distractions, I have not saved enough to weather the storm.

I have approximately $600 to my name until I find some sort of gainful employment. Originally I had set out to branch out on my own, looking for my own clients, but realistically I will not make enough income to survive the next month. So it's back to the job boards once again.

It's funny, tragic funny not haha funny, how history repeats itself.

Five years ago when I first relocated to Capital City it was mainly due to a transfer within the company I worked for. Eight months later they laid me off and I found myself unemployed during my first summer here. Visa helped weather the storm that time by paying for my rent and groceries; sadly I'm still attempting to pay off that decision. At that time I was recommended to go to the Food Bank to help make ends meet, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I didn't think I needed the assistance.

Well I am one that learns from my mistakes and decided to go to my local Food Bank today for some support. I'm glad I did. Upon arriving I was shocked to see the amount of people milling about waiting for their turn to grab what limited items where available on the shelves. People of all walks of life and ages. Families with young ones. Everyone with a look of despair in their eyes. It was the most depressing site I think I have ever seen. They were serving number 19 when I arrived and I was number 47. I couldn't bring myself to stay. What meagre items they had left on the shelves, these other 46 people needed it more than I did.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do next, but for any of you that read this blog and have the means to donate to your local food bank, please do so. Whatever community you live in, there is bound to be someone in need of assistance from the local food bank, and from what I have observed, the local food bank needs your help too.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chasing Distractions Wins The Lotto!!!!!

lot·ter·y –noun
1. a gambling game or method of raising money, as for some public charitable purpose, in which a large number of tickets are sold and a drawing is held for certain prizes
So I just won $3,865,774.00 in the Lotto 649 jackpot!!!!!

Say hello to the Sweet Life!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Upcoming Ottawa Shows -

con·cert –noun
1. a public musical performance in which a number of singers or instrumentalists, or both, participate

Just thought I would quickly share this great resource that I like to use when looking for upcoming shows in Ottawa. is an all Canadian independent arts message board and show calendar. I've tried to become a member to update Capital City's show calendar, but my membership has yet to be approved.

Here are a two shows that I recently went to see, thanks in part to the Stillepost list:

The Polymorphines with The Rockalily Burlesque Girls

Saturday, March 20th - Babylon Nightclub

Thrush Hermit

Thursday, March 25th - Capital Music Hall

As you may already be able to tell my inexpensive HP CA350 Digital Camera does not have the greatest audio recording capabilities. I recently purchased a Panasonic portable audio recorder to use when I conduct interviews for work, so I was thinking I would bring both devices with me to the next show to see which one has a better audio quality.

Tomorrow I'm going to see The Details at The Cajun Attic and will test out my camera and portable recorder options. You may remember me mentioning meeting The Details on my 3rd day at the NxNE festival in Toronto.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm Back!

re·al·i·ty –noun
1.the state or quality of being real
After a month away I am now back in Capital City. I spent the last four weeks or so in beautiful British Columbia.
Where I went to volunteer at the 2010 Winter Olympics with the aerial crew.
And got to see some great sites in and around Vancouver.

Including going to see a couple of great shows, like:
Elliott Brood

and We Were Promised Jetpacks.

I also got a chance to do a little snowboarding at Whistler and Kicking Horse.
Where I met the most amazing girl.
And got to see her band, Jiva Tree, perform.

Over breakfast I realized where I want to spend the rest of my days.
But for now it's back to reality, back to my one room apartment and my work from home job. Back to trying to make ends meat and remain sane and happy all at the same time.

One thing I'm going to take from my trip is that I am going to attempt to bring a little bit of that Vacation Persona that we all have into my everyday life.

I'm going to get out more and try new things.
I'm not going to be afraid to talk to strangers anymore.
I'm pretty much going to go against everything I ever learned as a kid, except maybe that whole look both ways before you cross the street thing, that could still prove to be important.

My first step in this 'New Me' transformation is to upgrade to a Big Boy Bed, and from there the sky is the limit.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Winterlude 2010

ice sculp⋅ture –noun
[ahys skuhlp-cher]
1. the art of carving figurative or abstract works of art in three dimensions from a block of ice
Yesterday I picked up HP’s CA350 Digital Camera from Best Buy in preparation of my trip to Vancouver where I will be volunteering at the 2010 Olympic Games.

I thought I would test out the camera by spending, what may be my last Sunday in Capital City (well at least for a few weeks anyway), at the Winterlude ice-carving contest.

I hope you enjoy the pictures:

The One Block Challenge

3rd Place Winner

2nd Place Winner

1st Place Winner

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